In my opinion there are three kinds of amateur chess players. Some just want to play chess. Others desire to improve their play. The rest haven't made up their mind which way to go yet.
In real life over the board chess tournaments there are two kinds. Very slow time controls and fast time controls. Most everyone should know that the path to chess improvement as well is winning substantial cash prizes lies with a very slow time controls. Chances are you will not improve your play to reach the master level if you play the quickest time control in the United States of 30 minutes a game. You will never earn a FIDE rating and the chance for an international title unless you play a time control of 90 30.
I don't mean to insult any of you at all but a well-known titled player has gone on record by stating that “Chess is the only sport that rewards mediocrity”. Look at the results of the recently concluded World Open:
10 grandmasters shared just under $4000 each. Not too shabby you say. Many more GM’s and all the IM’s who played were left out in the cold. At the same time the next several sections below this, starting with under 2400, produced winners of over $12,000. Even the under 1400 winner pocketed $7,400. Myself as a NM, would have been in the running for one of these huge prices had I played. If you translated every participant’s chess ability to golf and put us on the professional golf circuit none of us below international master strength would ever win a penny, let alone even have a shot at. So I guess that means I wallow in mediocrity with most of you reading this article. Let's make our mediocrity work for us.
At the same time the higher a title a player has does not mean how good of a chess coach they are. I read one IMs suggested paths for improvement here at chess.com and not only did I find it confusing once I got the gist of what he was suggesting, I realized that it would require an investment of at least a few thousand hours with no clear plan how to start and how to monitor progress. One of the most respected coaches in America only has the title of NM, and that is Dan Heisman. I'll let my ability to coach speak for itself, but as noted in my last blog, I am fairly certain I am the top-selling coach on this site.
Now the next question is would you like your plumber to perform open heart surgery on you? Of course not. You want someone with career experience. I have outlined a program for chess improvement and it was placed on YouTube before I became active here at chess.com. As noted already, I have put into place two groups to assist players who follow my program to improve their game. As noted in an earlier blog, practicing long standard time control games from home will increase your ability without affecting your real rating. I can't promise any of you will go on to win some of the huge cash prizes as noted above but I can promise I have a good system in place. My groups were created by someone who knows, (me), and therefore I confidently say they are the best two groups for your chess improvement and standard play here at chess.com. I don't want to say there are plumbers (low rated coaches, fast-moving time control groups, etc.) running around trying to help you improve your chess when they may wasting your time. All I can say is there is no reasonable argument against what I have to offer. Fact beats opinion every time and I have the facts on my side.
By the way I would like to add that anyone who wins a substantial cash prize no matter what his rating will need every minute of time he can get on the clock. No one is winning these kinds of outrageous prizes by moving quickly. A quick glance at the major tournaments held in America in the pages of Chess Life will prove long time controls, similar to 90 30 prevail. The Internet has changed chess and 90 30 does have a following and it's time to increase its use for your benefit. I was approached recently by a volunteer who helps set up 90 30 events for another chess server. He was willing to help direct events here (provided I set up a website) and thought it would be popular but I politely told him no. Negotiating times with your opponent is an antiquated system created by administrators (who didn’t understand the road to improvement lies with longer games) of another organization who shortened time controls. My standard time control group allows you play when you want to prepare you for the real world. Besides let's drive to make chess.com the world's leading Internet chess server in all areas. 90 30 on demand is a step in that direction.
So let's go back to my opening statement were kind of player you? If you just like to play, keep at it however you are doing it. If you’re one of the latter two types of players then my groups are the right place for you. Remember, a good game of chess should last at least three, and up to six hours. There is no shortcut to chess improvement. I wish I could reach every chess player in the world but I can't. I'll just preach my message and trust the wise to follow and hope others are not led astray
Yes the Internet has changed chess. Those that understand history and how one may take advantage of technology by playing from home will improve their play and save the travel costs that are necessary when you frequent a real club.
Thanks for your time.